Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association Files Suit to Delay Wolf Introduction

For Immediate Release

Contact: Colorado Cattlemen's Association 
303-431-6422 | [email protected]

Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association
970-366-1894 | [email protected]

December 11, 2023


Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association Files Suit to Delay Wolf Introduction

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -  Today, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) and Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association (GCSA) have filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado regarding the pending release of gray wolves in Colorado.  The lawsuit names U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) as defendants. The associations representing ranchers and farmers across Colorado have filed litigation to address concerns about the potential impacts of wolf introduction on livestock and rural communities.  

The decision to pursue legal action comes after extensive discussion and consultation with CCA and GCSA members, who are deeply committed to the prosperity of Colorado’s agricultural industry and the well-being of their livestock. Both organizations, CCA and GCSA, have opposed wolf introduction since it was a proposed ballot initiative and were involved in every step of the process.  CCA and GCSA actively participated in developing the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission’s Wolf Management Plan as members expressed detailed oral and written concerns regarding the scope of impacts associated with the potential release.  Those concerns and looming conflicts were not sufficiently resolved during that public process.  The subsequent renewal of the Cooperative Agreement between FWS and CPW authorizing the proposed release is clearly a major federal action that is subject to NEPA requirements.  The following very recent quote from CPW personnel underscores the significance of the introduction program:

"I think the whole agency recognizes that there's nothing we've taken on as an agency that's nearly as big and meaningful."  Eric Odell, CPW's Species Conservation Program Manager, statement to 9NEWS, December 6, 2023.

Andy Spann, 5th generation rancher from Gunnison and GCSA President, stated: “Impacts of wolf reintroduction, as would any other action of this magnitude, need to be properly reviewed to avoid unintended negative consequences to the natural environment, wildlife, and people of the impacted communities.  GCSA put forth our concerns throughout the public process.  We believe that much of our input, and that of many others across Western Colorado, was diminished by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission. We regret that a course of litigation on this and other issues seems to be the only recourse left to have these concerns legitimately addressed.” 

The litigation aims to ensure that the economic, ecosystem, and animal welfare concerns of livestock producers are adequately addressed before any further steps are taken in the wolf introduction process.  The associations seek to highlight the risks to livestock, wildlife, and the potential economic repercussions for the agriculture sector should the introduction proceed without the proper safeguards and mitigation strategies.  The litigation seeks to delay the release of wolves until the proper environmental impact review has been conducted.  In the interim, the associations are grateful for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife partnership and the finalized FWS 10(j) rule, which went into effect on December 8th, to provide Colorado producers management flexibility for potential wolf and livestock interactions. 

“Throughout the state’s wolf introduction processes, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association leadership and members dedicated time and effort to ensuring livestock production and rural communities are protected. Today, the association, in partnership with Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association, reaffirms its commitment. We regard this path of litigation not out of a desire for conflict, but rather as a testament to our unwavering commitment to supporting Colorado’s agriculture community and producers of the western slope,” said Robert Farnam, CCA President.


Colorado Cattlemen’s Association’s (CCA) is the state’s premier cattlemen’s association serving as the principal voice and advocate for Colorado beef production. CCA accomplishes this through its vision of “advancing the legacy” of beef production for its members by ensuring a dynamic and profitable industry that provides growth and opportunity for future generations.

Gunnison County Stockgrowers’ Association is an incorporated non-profit organization and represents nearly all the active livestock producers in the Gunnison Valley; advocating on behalf of members, the cattle producers, and ranch families of the Gunnison Valley. GCSA membership contributes millions in economic revenue to the local community, provides jobs, and sustains critical wildlife habitat values across a significant private land base.

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